VIDEO: Discover history of Yokosuka with ongoing ‘2022 Meguru Project’

VIDEO: Discover history of Yokosuka with ongoing ‘2022 Meguru Project’

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

There are many historical points and attractions in the vicinity of Yokosuka Naval Base. This is due in part to the arrival in 1853 of American Commodore Matthew Perry at Uraga Port in Yokosuka City. From there the city developed as a naval city with Japan’s first Western-style shipyard. Later, it served as an Imperial naval shipyard; then, in 1946, it would become U.S. Yokosuka Naval Base.

Since Yokosuka is at the entrance of Tokyo Gulf, it has also functioned as a fortress for Tokyo. Even today, you can still find a lot of ruins of gunnery battery sites, powder magazines and other military facilities of former Japanese military within the city.

With the aim of rediscovering the industrial heritage in the city, Yokosuka City hosted the “Meguru (touring historical sites) Project” in the fall of 2021 to highlight the city’s history, particularly those around the Uraga and Kannonzaki districts. This year, Meguro Project came back as a larger-scaled event. 

On weekends and Japanese holidays through Dec. 11, visitors will be treated to guided tours of Chiyogasaki Gun Battery Site and Uraga Dock, along with a 30-minute ship cruise in the Uraga Gulf on weekends. At the festival site, at Uraga Dock, dozens of kitchen cars offer various dishes while you can buy local fresh vegetables and souvenirs in the open market from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

During the event, various musical performance and concerts are held at Uraga Dock Theater, a temporary stage installed in the historical drydock. You can also enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the historical shipyard and town of Uraga in a hot-air balloon from 9 – 11 a.m. Although the music is free, there is a charge for the balloon ride.

My wife and I attended the event to learn more about the area where we live. First, we toured the Chiyogasaki Gun Battery Site ruins up on a hill on Uraga Town’s south end.

The site was constructed by the Japanese Imperial Army around 1892, according to our guide. During the tour, we checked out the large brick-made gunnery site, home to six cannons, powder magazines and the paths and underground tunnels connecting them. Getting through some of these places required candlelight, so it felt surreal and almost like being at an amusement park. 

The volunteer guides (some even spoke English) were available to answer any of our questions. At the top of the ruins, we were able to appreciate the vantage point of this spot while enjoying the beautiful view of the Tokyo Gulf and Chiba Peninsula beyond. We live in Uraga District and had no idea this was a designated historical heritage site.

We drove to the site, but there is a shuttle bus available to take visitors from the battery ruins to the main festival site (former Sumitomo Heavy Industries Uraga Shipyard).

After the tour at the gunnery ruins, we joined a 30-minute Uraga History Cruise starting at the docking area of the former Sumitomo Shipyard for 800 yen. The two-story cruise ship was very comfortable and we were able to pinpoint many historical spots. Some of these include Commodore Perry’s anchorage point, many Shinto shrines, ruins of the Uraga Magistrate’s Office of Shogunate Government, and a replica of Uraga’s old wooden lighthouse.

As we took in the sights and sounds, a knowledgeable member of the crew explained the points of interest and the significant contributions made in this area for the development and modernization of Japan.

There is also another tour available of the Uraga Dock in the shipyard. Built in 1899 and the only existing brick-made drydock in Japan, more than 1,000 ships were built or repaired here until it was closed in 2003.

If you are in Yokosuka, this is a great chance to get to know the city’s deep history and enjoy the great views of the unique gulf. My wife and I have lived here for years and we enjoyed learning more about our hometown.

2022 Meguru Project - Historical attractions in the Uraga district

Until Dec. 11 (weekends and holidays)

Location: 2-15-2, Sakuragaoka, Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture (former Uraga Dock)

Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (check out URL for tour schedule)


Hot-air balloon ride: 2,500 yen

Tour of Uraga Brick Dock and Chiyogasaki Gun Battery Site: 1,000 yen, elementary and middle schoolers 600 yen

Uraga History Cruise: 800 yen, elementary and middle schoolers 400 yen

Tour of Uraga Brick Dock: 500 yen, elementary and middle schoolers 250 yen


Tel: 046-822-8124

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